FROM commercial interior design in London to owning a successful Bar and Bistro in Wellington, Donna’s career has not always been straight forward…

Donna Munson, 57, owner of Rule 7: Bar and Bistro in Wellington opened her eatery 13 and a half years ago.

After working in London, Donna decided she wanted a change and moved back to Wellington.

She worked hard on a degree in building design and management and continued to work in commercial design for eight years.

Hitting 40, Donna again decided that she was in need of a career change.

She explained: “I was sat in the traffic in Wellington one day and there was a sign on the building that said lease for sale.

“So, I came and had a look – it was completely derelict and needed a complete rework.

“So, I thought, well I am a designer and I can do this. I had previously worked in bars, so I thought I knew what I was doing – turned out I didn’t have a clue!

“I designed the place myself. It started as more of a beer pub. But then as its changed I have changed the décor with it.

“Now, people always want to book the alcove – or the tunnel as I call it.”

The building was originally called the Cellar Bar and Donna admitted that people still call it that today – but she decided she needed to change the name.

Donna said: “Rule 7 is another way of saying what happens on tour stays on tour so people can come in and relax somewhere different in Wellington.

“I’ve always thought Wellington needed something else. And Flavours shut down – the food was lovely, but I think it was too much of a restaurant.

“People go to restaurants as a treat but will eat in a pub more regularly. So, we changed the menu two years ago which meant we both had to get more involved with the food.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Rule 7 started with just pizza and tapas on the menu but has now changed to add dishes from different countries.

Donna also spends more time in the kitchen now, with Becky South, who has been working with Donna from the beginning.

Donna added: “I’d always said that Wellington needed something different. Becky and I talked about it and decided that it would be nice if we could do world food and have a dish from different countries.

“So, we do Moroccan tagines, Caldeirada (Portuguese fish stew), Kung Po chicken, Somerset Pork.

“Me and Becky are proper foodies, we love to go out and treat ourselves to decent meals.

“We’ve just introduced the Kung Pow chicken.

“I like it because its spicy but because it’s not oil-based, the spice doesn’t build.

“A chilli is oil-based so it will build in your mouth, but the Kung Pow doesn’t so its spicy but it’s not overwhelming.

“I will always like the Tuscan chicken – it’s really heavy on the garlic, but really creamy with tagliatelle with sundried tomatoes and spinach.”

Donna and Becky have also introduced a specials board, dependent on what ingredients they have sourced- especially the fish that they source from the van that appears in Wellington each week.

The board, which Donna calls a nosebag (after a horses nosebag), has a range of dishes with the option of different sides – so you can always choose what you fancy (and don’t have to have salad if you don’t want it)!

Donna explained: “We offer quite a wide selection of sides and we like people to choose their sides. If the plate comes back with something on it, then they obviously didn’t want it.

“I use the butchers in the town, we have a nice selection of local food shops. Because I’m not a huge business I don’t like to bulk buy things so everything that we have is fresh and daily.

“I don’t like preserves, I can’t stand food that’s full of preservatives.

“We small batch cook so when it’s gone its gone.

“Apparently my nachos are to die for, people have come from America and told me they were amazing.”

As Donna is gluten-free she offers many gluten-free alternatives at Rule 7 too.

She also offers gluten free larger and beer – perfect if you are someone who struggles to eat out because of a gluten allergy.

Gin is a hugely popular tipple today and Donna has created a gin bin. She explained: “Gin is now very popular.

“We have an infamous gin bin and have anywhere between 40 and 50 gins at any one time.”

They also offer wine tastings at Rule 7 and pair the wines with the food.

This is a very sociable event for a Sunday afternoon and it helps to introduce customers to different wines and foods.

“We’re very laid back, we like to have a laugh with the customers. We like to be a little bit less formal.”

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